I’m excited to share another interview today as part of a series highlighting crochet designers for (Inter)National Crochet Month. Today’s featured designer is Manda Robertson, an emerging crochet designer and blogger who has challenged herself to post about hats every day this year through her 365 Days of Hats series! She has a great sense of style which combines a vintage look with a punk DIY ethos.
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Manda can be found online at Raising Robertsons Crochet, and on Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, and Ravelry (as RaisingRobertson and on her designer page). All images are copyright Manda Robertson and used with permission.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Manda: Shortly after having kids, crochet as a hobby started becoming all the rage in the mom circle I was a part of. I knew I had to start sometime. Eventually, I unraveled a hat I purchased from a fellow mom friend and worked it back together. I was hooked ;). I eventually resorted to YouTube to learn more. I started with only one hook and was clueless. It came so naturally to me, I’ve been addicted ever since.
UC: When and why did you get started blogging?
Manda: When we expanded our family, our budget become so tight and much less flexible. I really didn’t want to leave being a stay at home mom full time. My mom suggested I try blogging and working with fibers from home for a little extra income. She and her mother used to crochet, too! She was right to tell me to do so :).
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Manda: Honestly, my nanny (my grandmother). She used to crochet years ago and she handed down her hooks to me after a while of me crocheting. The moment I sent her a photo of my very first design she told me to go for it!
Every time I use her hooks, I’m reminded of how hard she worked as a stay at home mom with four kids, all little ones, yet still had time to make such lovely pieces for her family. Everything from where my crochet workstation is (we are kitchen table ladies) to the bag I use when I travel (it’s hers, too) with my supplies just reek of her. She is my number one fan, and I admire everything she has ever done. It is also why I try to design and make a lot of vintage items/hats.
UC: You’re doing an interesting project on your blog this year, 365 Days of Hats. Tell us about this project. What is it and what was your inspiration behind it?
Manda: I keep seeing these “365 days” everywhere. I wanted to jump on the train. Hats seem to be very popular in the fiber arts world so I knew I had to take on this project! This project feature a hat/hats everyday. This includes pattern reviews of hats I’ve made for customers or family, patterns I have designed and written myself, as well as roundups!
I wanted to include other designers in on my project, too, so there will be even more pattern reviews from myself and other designers this coming year, too. I’m very excited about it! I was inspired by being a mom and the never ending hunt for hats in the retail world. Especially for babies. I couldn’t ever find any. Now I make them, haha.
UC: Obviously, you like to crochet hats! What’s your favorite thing about hat projects?
Manda: It’s funny because I used to hate making hats. I was sick and tired of being asked to make the same beanie over and over again. I started collecting free patterns in my Ravelry queue just to show people a different option than they requested. This project had taught me that there are almost a million more designs out there and everyday I have gotten to “know” a new one. There is a design out there for everyone! That is 100% my favorite thing. So many options!!!!
UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
Manda: From everyone in my life I love. It’s smaltzy, I know, but it’s true. Literally every design I come up with has someone in mind, whether it be my sons, or just a very loyal, old friend. Everyone has a different personality and drive in life and each of those works of art, to me, represents them.
UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?
UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Manda: I have to plug Ravelry first. It’s my go to site for free or paid patterns. It also feels like a secret club for fiber artists, which makes me feel pretty cool lol. It’s a great place to network too! I also really love Hopeful Honey. She is so talented and her vintage hats are obviously my favorite to make tee hee. There is also Stitch 11. She has been there from the beginning for me. She was one of the first to tell me to take this yartsy (yarn artsy) path in life and never give up!
UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?
Manda: My husband and I are working on a new fiber arts room for me. So, I’m using it as an opportunity to organize my yarn stash and get a new crochet work space!! Maybe crochet a new set of curtains for it :). NatCroMo will be all about self care this year.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Manda, and I can’t wait to see how your 365 Days of Hats turns out!